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Parenting with Reason: Evidence-Based Approaches to Parenting Dilemmas (Parent and Child) [Paperback]

Esther Yoder Strahan , Wallace E. Dixon Jr. , J. Burton Banks
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Oct 2009 Parent and Child

Sometimes it feels as though everybody has an opinion on how you should bring up your child – and no two people seem to agree on how it should be done for the best! Parenting with Reason cuts through the masses of  confusing and often contradictory advice about parenting by providing hard evidence to back up the tough decisions all parents face.  Unlike many self-help guides to parenting which are based on the opinion of one author, this book is based on many findings from scientific research, giving you a trustworthy, ‘evidence-based’ guide to help see your way through parenting dilemmas.

Written by a clinical psychologist, a developmental psychologist and a doctor of family medicine, the book looks at pressing questions such as: 'What should I do when my child acts up?', 'How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?' and 'How do I begin to toilet-train my child?' The authors, who are also parents themselves, debunk common myths about parenting, such as the notion that a healthy baby needs to be able to breastfeed at will throughout the night, or the idea that children who are adopted need specialized counselling. They also cover issues such as how children might be affected by seeing violence on television, how a parent’s psychological health can affect their child, what the scientific evidence is for and against circumcision, and how divorce and adoption affect a child’s development. The end of each chapter gives you 'The Bottom Line', a handy summary of the key points of each issue.

This book is ideal for new or prospective parents, and paediatricians, family health providers and anyone who works with children and their parents will also find the book’s objective, scientific approach useful in their work.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (23 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041541329X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415413299
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Unlike many self-help books, [Parenting with Reason] offers a range of evidence-based advice that leaves the reader able to make up their own mind about an issue, rather than being force-fed the views of the author. Throughout the book, the authors share their own personal experiences of specific parenting dilemmas, allowing readers to feel that they are not the only people who experience such difficulties. This anecdotal style of writing adds a wonderful humorous and personal touch to the book, making it a thoroughly enjoyable read. The end of each chapter presents the bottom line of each issue that was explored, providing a useful summary of the key points as a reminder. This book is well suited to all parents, or prospective parents, and anybody working with children or families." – Esther Yoder Strahan and Wallace E Dixon Jr online at

"There is certainly a need for an evidenced-based approach to parenting. Too much of what has been published over the years on this subject has been written by nonprofessionals and geared to popular trends. The authors—a clinical psychologist, a developmental psychologist, and a family physician—do an admirable job of explaining to the layperson and professional alike their approach to dilemmas such as nutrition of breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, preventing childhood obesity, the ins and outs of toilet training, parenting through the dark days of adolescence, controlling a child’s exposure to pop culture, disciplining, and whether hitting your child can ever be justified." – Mardi Allen in PsycCRITIQUES

"Almost every day there is a story in the news announcing another supposedly scientific finding pertaining to children, parents or families. Parenting with Reason not only offers thoughtful guidance but, much more significantly, provides parents with ways of thinking about what they read and ways to thoughtfully weigh the evidence behind the many claims they encounter. As a result, this clearly written, engaging volume should prove useful to all parents who want the best for their children." – Professor Jay Belsky, Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck University of London

"What makes Parenting with Reason exceptional is that it treats parents like grown-ups – overwhelmed and baffled grown-ups sometimes, to be sure, but grown-ups never the less. What they offer is something different – research-based evidence for parents to take into account when faced with the many important dilemmas involved in bringing up their children." – Rachel Gould, counsellor and mother of 2

"I would definitely recommend this book to friends as it is so informative and insightful. There is such a wealth of information in this book and I like the way it explodes parenting myths that are not based on science" - Joanna Brown, mother to 5-year-old twins

About the Author

Esther Yoder Strahan taught for a decade as Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Heidelberg College, combined with part-time clinical practice. She has recently moved into full-time clinical practice. She enjoys travel with her husband Jeffrey and two young children, Laura and Isaac.

Wallace E. Dixon, Jr. is Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at East Tennessee State University. His wife Michele is a clinical child psychologist, and the two struggle to raise their daughters Rachel and Sarah to withstand the stigma of having two child psychologist parents.

J. Burton Banks is a former associative professor of family medicine at East Tennessee State University. His clinical interests include children's health and care of child abuse victims. Dr Banks now practises medicine in southwest Virginia, where he lives with his wife Korina and three children, Trent, Skylar and Tanner.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell it as it is, truth behind old wives' tales 23 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a new dad of a 10-days-old baby I've already gone through a dozen books on baby and parenting. This is a very intelligent book that tackles the issues I face from a completely different angle. Being new to all of this, I receive thousands of tips, tricks, latest scientific discovery and old wives tales - many of which are in somewhat conflict to each other. This book helped me make sense of them all.

From this book many of the misguided beliefs are busted - like the Mozart effect sprawl out of control from a mere suggestion of possibility to a global money spinner. With solid research to back it up I find it reassuring to know what I am doing had been proven before. I find this book most useful in conjunction of other guidance books I read and hopefully my little one would turn out to be normal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and different parenting book 8 Nov 2010
By M. Marikar VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this book quite different than all the other parenting books I have previously read (which is quite a lot!), the authors have made an effort to base everything on science and evidence, so it is quite informative. They don't give only one view but give the evidence for several views, so the reader can make their own choice. It also has historical information in it about what used to be the common views about children in the past, which I found interesting although it is a slight tangent from what you are actually looking up but it makes interesting reading. Also unlike many of the books I've come across this one covers the whole childhood up to adolescence, rather than focusing only on toddlers or younger children, so I imagine it will come in useful over the years as you can refer back to it whenever an issue comes up
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-buy for any parent! 18 Mar 2011
By Ms. M. Cheung VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I cannot tell you how much I love this book! Being the mum of two small kids (aged 3 and 5) I have always shied away from parenting books as I am not swayed by so-called experts who give advice based only on what they consider to be the right way to bring up kids.

This book is a breath of fresh air - it tells you the research and studies that have been done and whether the results support or oppose certain methods of raising children. Is sleeping with a baby better, is bottle-feeding bad for the baby, what are the factors that affect toilet training and bed-wetting? The books follows childhood and the corresponding problems and dilemmas right up to adolescence (which is described as starting from puberty and lasting up to about age 21!!!), for example how to deal with teenagers getting into drugs and sex. I especially loved the discipline chapter as my daughter has been throwing tantrums recently but I was at a loss as to how to deal with her.

The authors do not preach about which way is best, they simply present you with the results of the research, and give you their viewpoint based on the overall evidence. At the end of each chapter is "the bottom line", which summarises all that has been said and gives you their opinion. The authors are respectful of the fact that different people will raise their kids in different ways, and never say you should or should not do something (unless it endangers the child's health).

I have read some reviews about this book saying that it's like a textbook. I found that it was clear and easy to read, so if that means it's like a textbook then that's a good thing! If you like books like "Bad Science" and you're a parent then this is a must-read. I will be recommending this to all my friends and relatives who have become parents, and I will be keeping it in my bookcase for reference for when my kids reach another stage in their development. Excellent stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Parenting...FOR SCIENCE!!! 8 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is not for casual readers, short attention spans, those with a small vocabulary or anyone who can't appreiciate the need to historical reference.

Written by a combination of doctors and shrinks who seem to have gone through the history books and their own hands-on experience and case studies to try and give you some ideas of what is possibly instore for you as a parent. But as anyone with kids knows, there is no amount of self-help or reference books that will give you a one-stop soultion to your child's up-bringing.

While I found this to be a very interesting book with a different look on the matter than many parenting self-help titles, it still didn't relate at all well when considering my partner's child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars self opinionated 11 Dec 2010
By Victor Preston VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
this is a vey complex book with a scientific approach to childcare.
their views show different ways on how to be a good parent.
there were some useful ideas but i thought that there was some poor advice.
particularly on a section where they recommend sleeping with your child as they say it would be a good way to bond.
this is a very old fashioned view and one that could be harmful for the child.
breaking bedtime routines is wrong and this could give a bad impression especially to social services.
i found this book not to my personal taste, it was very self opinionated and did not keep my interest.
Parenting with Reason (Parent and Child)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life with a little one 18 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Parenthood is the oddest thing : being a parent means being at war with your child sometimes, trying to impose a battle of wills against a curious independence that is unafraid to question everything. This book attempts to, and mostlu succeeds, in rationalising and explaining parenting, as such, and trying to impose a sense of order over a world that often has none. Nonetheless, every child is different, and thus, this book only goes so far in succeeding its mission. Like any parent, this book realises that life is not "one size fits all", but instead a set of options, and offers multiple tactics to achieve a level of harmony. And thus, it is successful and beyond most of it's peers in offering a wide picture of how, and how not, to live life with a little one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the family
Parents today have got to be thankful for having such a range of quality books on bringing up kids. I dread to think what hand-me-down wisdom my parents got by on 40-odd years ago. Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, insightful advice for parents
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine...
My wife and I had a chuckle the other day, I am sure like most other new parents you have read god knows how many books on child birth / care that either seeks to alleviate or... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute essential for parents or parents-to-be
As an imminent Dad-to-be for the first time, I can't stress enough what an essential read this was. I haven't told most of my friends or work colleagues our news yet (so if they... Read more
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2.0 out of 5 stars Fairly intense reading
The book attempts to make bringing up a child into a logical systematic and at times technical way which I do not think the average read would totally relate too. Read more
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy effort, but not entirely succesful
God knows we badly need evidence based approaches to parenting, so all credit due to these three American authors for trying to present a book on it. Read more
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